I spent a week in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Chiang Mai is in the northern part of the country; twenty hours by train, fourteen hours by bus, and an hour and a half flight from busy and bustling Bangkok.
Chiang Mai has a temple on every corner, and I learned fairly quickly that I shouldn’t use 7-11’s or these sparkling Wats as references points, as I kept getting directionally disoriented.
Grasping the city’s layout didn’t take that long though. On one of the first days in Chiang Mai, I rented a bicycle and aimlessly rode through the streets, stopping when I saw something of interest or when I needed a refreshing Thai tea.
On another day, I walked towards Thapae Gate and the direction of the well known night market. As a walked, what looked to be a cute cafe caught my attention, and curious, I walked closer to investigate. I realized that the cafe was in fact a boutique hotel, unique and trendy. I knew immediately that I wanted to stay there, but almost just as immediately, I discovered the nightly rates were even more pricey than many a Santa Monica hotel. Slightly disappointed, I walked away thinking that I would come back for a beverage during happy hour, and only wishfully thought that maybe someday I would come back to stay.
And ‘someday’ can happen a lot sooner than you expect…
While in Thailand, I started using Agoda.com, a hotel booking site that offers deep price cuts, even up to 75 percent off regular rates. When I checked Agoda for where I to stay the following nights, I found the hotel that I had so immediately adored. The rate definitely wasn’t backpacker price or even cheap, but it was affordable, and I had said that I would stay at Mo Rooms, the name of this chic hotel, so I figured someday had arrived much sooner than I expected.
Mo Rooms is located on Thapae Road. There are very few rooms at this hotel, and all of the rooms are themed, like cow, ox, dragon, etc. No two rooms are identical. The lower level of the hotel welcomes a guest by a glassed in cafe area, and an open air bar, with wood tables creating a natural, eco-friendly feel. The wood blends into a pebbled walk leading to a irregular shaped pool. Stairs to the right lead up to a room filled with couches, books, and a balcony wear travelers can sit and observe the world.
My room was the Dragon Room, decorated with reds and whites, simple and modern, a flight screen TV on one end, and the doorless washroom on the opposite end, only separated by a cave like wall. It really did feel like I was sleeping in a cave. Breakfast was included in the room rate, and in the morning, I enjoyed french toast with fresh fruit.
The hotel is more inclined for honeymooners, and I probably wouldn’t stay there again, as there are just as wonderful guesthouse accommodations in the city for much less the cost. But, it’s definitely chic, and if you like boutique hotels, you should book a night at Mo Rooms. And if you don’t, stop by in the afternoon to enjoy the atmosphere and take advantage of the happy hour.
Other guesthouses I stayed at in Chiang Mai included Dozy House and Sculpture Hostel. Dozy House is great; clean, friendly owner, airport pick-up for 100bht, bicycles for rent, tour bookings, and more. I highly recommend Dozy House. The only downside for me was that is a little bit farther walk from the night bazaar and places that I wanted to see. Sculpture Hostel was also nice, located on the same street as the weekend market, and there are also nice cafes and restaurants less than a block away. The location is the main appeal.